August 17th

A mistrial was declared on 23 corruption charges against ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (He was convicted of 17 counts of corruption in a retrial.).
Rod Blagojevich corruption charges
Michael Phelps Earns his 8th Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics. The American champion swimmer won the medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay race in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. With this medal, he broke the record for the most gold medals won by a person in a single Olympic games, a record previously held by American swimmer Mark Spitz.
Michael Phelps
Israeli security forces began the forcible removal of Jews from four settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli disengagement from Gaza
Pope John Paul II arrived in Krakow, Poland, for the ninth and final visit to his native country during his papacy.
List of pastoral visits of Pope John Paul II outside Italy
Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony he had an 'improper physical relationship' with the intern and on the same day admits before the nation he 'misled people' about the relationship.
Monica Lewinsky scandal
Actor-director Woody Allen admitted being romantically involved with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his longtime companion, actress Mia Farrow.
Woody Allen
Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at Spandau prison in West Berlin at age 93, apparently a suicide. He had been the only inmate at Spandau for 21 years.
Albert Speer
Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman become the first people to complete the world's First Transatlantic Balloon Flight. The feat was accomplished in a balloon called the Double Eagle II. It took Abruzzo, Anderson, and Newman 6 days to fly from Preque Isle, Maine to a barley field near Paris.
1978 in aviation
Venera 7 launched by the Soviet Union. Launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Venera 7 became the first spacecraft to land on another planet, Venus, and send data back to Earth. It entered Venus’ atmosphere in December 1970.
Venera 7
Hurricane Camille slammed into the Gulf Coast, killing 248 people.
Hurricane Camille
East German border guards shot and mortally wounded 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who had attempted to cross over the Berlin Wall into the western sector.
Günter Litfin
Gabon gains independence from the French. France had occupied Gabon since the latter part of the 1800's. In 1910, the Equatorial country was added to French Equatorial Africa, a federation of France's Central African colonies. From 1934 to 1958, French Equatorial Africa was considered by France as an unified colony.
French Community
The Radcliffe Line, the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan is revealed.
Radcliffe Line
Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declare Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) independent from the Netherlands.
The Allied conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.
Allied invasion of Sicily
A mob in Cobb County, Ga., lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, who had been sentenced on flimsy evidence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan.
Talk:Leo Frank/Archive 6
Joe Pulitzer donates $1 million to Columbia University & begins the Pulitzer Prizes in America.
John D. Rockefeller
Prospectors found gold in Alaska, a discovery that set off the Klondike gold rush.
George Carmack
Fort Sumter, S.C. was bombarded by Union ships during the Civil War.
Battle of Fort Sumter
Robert Fulton's steamboat, the Clermont, began its trip up the Hudson River to Albany.
North River Steamboat
The Governor of Roanoke Island colony, John White, returns from England to find everyone in the colony has disappeared.
Roanoke Colony